View from Yate Heritage Centre

August 31 2015

In this year of high profile anniversaries and events, it is sometimes useful to remember there is so much more to local history that we can access.

View from Yate Heritage Centre september

In this year of high profile anniversaries and events, it is sometimes useful to remember there is so much more to local history that we can access.

Oral History Archive

What I like to think of as a selling point for Yate Heritage Centre is free access to local history information. As well as historic images on our website, we can now offer more than 2,500 local history photographs in our gallery computer covering nigh on every aspect of our history over the last 150 years. Perhaps less well known is our outstanding oral history archive, which is now available to play and read.
There are upwards of 200 oral history interviews accessible for the visitor. Inevitably perhaps with 20th century social history, there are gaps in our knowledge, which oral history can try and address. Oral history can also provide colour, opinion and vivid description lacking in other historic records. As a result we have tackled a myriad of different subjects, from the bombing of Parnall Aircraft to modern day immigration.
Some of our best oral history was derived from the working conditions of Newman’s foundry. This material is evocative and far removed from our modern day working experiences. David Woodsford worked in Newman’s foundry between 1959 and 1963 and said:
“The floor was covered in ball bearings. The floors were filthy - a mixture of earth and concrete had been broken up over the years by having hot metal poured on it and people scuffing around on it. The metal overflowed and formed droplets and of course that was everywhere - you could slide and fall around.
“Harry Andrews had a smaller bucket. Probably, I don’t know, a quarter of a ton of molten iron I suppose that was on a monorail system. You would just push it around and just shout for people to get out of the way.”
This is a tiny fraction of the many good interviews available. The Yate District Oral History Project has also been recording in this area since the late 1980s and its material will be made available to the public via the heritage centre and other locations in the future. Watch this space.

Yate International Festival Saturday, September 19

An established part of our annual
calendar is Yate International Festival. We have tried to offer a wide range of history and culture as part of our service and this year is no exception. Highlights of the festival this year include Cameroonian dance and drums and Irish Ceilidh, with old favourites such as the Hindu Puppet Theatre and Chinese Calligraphy. Cultural stalls, including Polish and Indian food and a host of other activities, form the basis of this popular event. For more details of this free event, kindly funded and supported by South Gloucestershire and Yate Town councils can be seen on our website and around the area.
For your diary
September 22 - Yate Lecture Series - History of the Protestant martyr Bishop Hooper
September 29 - Heritage Centre autumn quiz
September 29 - October 20 - Yate Art Open